Tag Archives | art

Abstract Painting Tutorial

We both grew up with art as an important part in our lives and love that when we want to change up our walls we can grab a canvas, brush some paint on it, and have instant new art. But if you’re not super comfortable with a paintbrush in your hand, that can be kind of intimidating. So we set out to create an abstract painting tutorial that you can do even if you don’t consider yourself a painter. As proof, we convinced my mom (who doesn’t paint) to give it a try and see if she could follow along. Results = success!

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com

We used acrylic paint (which we think is the easiest paint to work with) in just two colors, and topped it off with shiny copper tape that adds an instant geometric punch. We are super excited for you guys to try your hand at painting too!

This video covers everything step by step (it really helps to watch Evan’s brush in motion), and we’ll go into even more detail below.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]

Materials needed:

Step 1: Wet your canvas

The first step (that might not be an obvious one) is to brush water across your canvas. The water is going to help the paint blend. If the canvas is try, it tries to grip onto the paint and makes everything less smooth. You just want a very thin layer of water (the canvas should glisten but there shouldn’t be any pooling).

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com

Step 2: Add background

We’re going to use just two colors in this tutorial: Titanium White and Payne’s Gray. You could easily swap these around (white and blush would be really pretty too, or white and teal)

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Get mostly white on your brush and just a little bit of gray. You don’t want to mix them too much because you’ll just end up with a really light gray. Instead, you want white with streaks of grayish blue to end up on your canvas. So get both on the brush without mixing them.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com At this point, do all vertical up and down strokes until everything looks smooth and you have some nice blue striation mixed into the white.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com

Step 3: Add variation

Next we are going to add some variation in the form of left and right strokes, stronger concentrations of gray, and stronger concentrations of white. We like an asymmetrical look, so we are going to add some darker gray areas in the bottom right, top left, and bottom left.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com We mix in some horizontal strokes with our vertical strokes by cross-hatching them so that not all the brush strokes are going in the same direction.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com And then we blend these additional marks so there aren’t hard edges (this is personal preference, you can leave it less blended if you prefer it that way). When you apply color you should hold your brush at about a 45 degree angle, but when you blend you should hold it much lower, about a 20-30 degree angle. Make your brush strokes very light handed, letting the weight of the brush pull the paint but not really applying too much extra force on top of that.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com The blending step is much easier to understand in video form. The good news is, there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. If you look at Evan’s painting and my mom’s painting, they both look a little different and it’s totally ok.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com

Step 4: Add copper tape

After letting it fully dry (we wait a couple hours), you’re going to add the copper tape. First we drew out a few different patterns that we could lay our tape in. We recommend doing this to decide on your tape pattern before you actually place your tape.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Again, there’s not really a wrong way to do this. I tried like 20 options and I think any of them would have worked. We will say for this more minimalist look, 3-5 lines probably works best.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com To apply the copper tape, first unroll and cut off the amount you need, leaving a little extra on each end to wrap around the edges of your canvas. The cut off piece wants to curl, so we straightened it by bending it agains the direction it wanted to curl. Remove the backing carefully so that it does not stick to itself, and pull tightly (but not so tight you break it!) across your canvas. Press down onto your canvas and wrap the tape around the edges.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com And you’re done!

So the reason this works so well as abstract art, even for beginners, is that the copper tape is what your eye focuses on and the painting acts as a backdrop for that. So even if you’re not super confident in your painting skills, don’t worry, it won’t be the main focus. Heck, you could even just do a solid color backdrop.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - evanandkatelyn.com So please give this a try and let us know how it goes! We’d love to see how it turns out, so tag us on Instagram @evanandkatelyn if you end up posting pics!

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Doing a mix-matched gallery wall

We have a lotttt of art. Evan and I both paint/draw, we have artists in the family so we collect art from them, and I have a tendency to save things that I think might make good art someday (a pretty page from a magazine or calendar for example). So yeah, we are overflowing.

Therefore, we’re no strangers to gallery walls. In fact, we have a 23 foot gallery that takes up an entire wall in our living room! But we’ve always played it safe in one regard – when we do frames our frames match, and when we do canvases we do alllll canvases. The living room wall has been 100% wrapped canvases until very recently. Here is a pic of how it looked when we first put it up, and it stayed that way for a couple years.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

A few months ago we decided to start mixing things up and we added some black framed art to our canvas-dominated wall.

The other gallery walls in our house were all black frames – and not even different black frames, all the EXACT same black frame in different sizes. In our dining room I just recently added, prepare yourself, art with slightly different black frames. (those three with the mats…. yes, so different)

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

So after dipping my toes into the mix-and-match-frame pool, I decided it was time to actually jump in. The plan was to fill another wall and not be so matchy matchy about the frames, type of art, etc. The wall we chose for the job: our empty hallway.

You may have guessed that already if you remember seeing a few frames peeking out in our post about painting your yellowy fixtures white. That was somewhere in the middle of operation mix-match, but it’s evolved quite a bit since then. I’m going to show you how it turned out, and walk you through our method.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

So there are two ways you can go about starting a gallery wall:

  1. You can look at the art/photos you already have and then go buy frames for whatever needs frames. Or,
  2. You go buy frames you think will make a nice arrangement, then buy/make/print things to go into said frames.

Because we wanted to get some photos printed and we had enough extra art laying around that we could fill various frame sizes, we went with option 2. If you have one or more specific pieces, option 1 might be a better bet for you.

We’ve tried a lot of different methods when it comes to putting up gallery walls, but in our experience the fastest/simplest route is to lay everything out on the floor in front of the wall, eyeball where the middle piece should go, and work your way out from the middle. Some people will recommend getting butcher paper, cutting out pieces that match your frame size, and arranging those on the wall with tape first, but I think that takes wayyyyy too long. I figure with our method, worst case scenario is that we have to move our art around and fill a few nail holes (or just cover the holes with more art, am-I-right?).

We already had extra black frames, and I wanted to incorporate some white frames, so I decided to get a mix of black and white, some thick, some thin, some with mats, and some without. I laid these out, along with some existing canvases.  The lower left and upper right canvases were just spare ones that I planned to paint over.

So here it is up on the wall. Meh. Something just felt kinda off and not cohesive (and I promise I was trying as hard as I could to use my imagination and see past the frame “filler images” and the smoke alarm with no face).

So I rearranged it to the version you saw from the vent posts. I painted the fern art, the cross-hatch piece in the middle of the bottom row, and the mountain piece in that’s cut off on the bottom left.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

This was definitely better and we kept it like this for a long time. Then I saw the gold Target frames. I immediately bought three in all different sizes and knew I had to make them work somehow. But with our mix of unframed pieces (canvas), white framed pieces, and black framed pieces, I wasn’t crazy enough to add another variable. So I moved a few of these guys to the living room gallery, and painted any black frames that remained with a semi-gloss white spray paint.

After much rearranging, and finally getting off my butt to get some wedding and vacation photos printed, I landed on this layout and I love it!

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

Being in a long skinny hallway, it’s not the easiest to take pictures of, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how it turned out.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

It was definitely worth the wait because we love the balance of art and photos, the various sizes and how they all play together, and the color scheme that ended up kinda materializing on it’s own (blues, greens, and golds).

Hope this shows that it’s ok for your walls to be continually evolving. It’s worth a few extra nail holes to just start somewhere, even if you don’t quite know where you’re going yet. After seeing how this hallway turned out, now I’m wanting to make even more changes in our living room and dining room – so expect more art wall updates to come!


DIY wood canvas frame

Hey guys! Quick project on the blog today. We’re going to be walking you through how to make a simple, simple frame for any art you have laying around. We did it for a wrapped canvas, but we’re pretty sure you can use the same method for anything else you might frame (a poster, a print, etc). Here’s the finished product:

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

Custom frames can easily cost a couple hundred bucks (which is like, dozens of chickfila spicy chicken sandwiches). Our frame only cost us a few dollars. Meaning I have a lot of spicy chicken in my future.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

Tools used:

So here’s how we did it. We started by measuring the outside edges of our canvas. We wanted the corners of the frame to meet at 45 degree angles, like in the graphic below. When you are measuring, make sure that the inside of your frame pieces is what matches up with the canvas measurement, and draw a 45 degree line out from that. The outside of your frame pieces will therefore be a little longer than the inside.

Alternatively, you could forego a 45 degree cut and just have them meet perpendicularly.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

After marking on our trim wood pieces where the cuts needed to go, Evan quickly sliced the wood on the miter saw but you could use a simple jigsaw instead if you have a steady hand.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

Once all four pieces were cut, we put wood glue at each corner where the pieces met. We used right angle clamps to hold the pieces together. You don’t have to buy four: if you have patience, you can just get one and do one corner at a time. Make sure to wipe off any excess glue that squeezes our, then let them dry overnight.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

When we took the clamps off everything was nice and sturdy. Then we used an old rag to wipe on some Minwax stain in Dark Walnut (our favorite!) and let that dry for the recommended drying time.

The easiest thing about this frame? It just pops right onto the canvas. Simple tension holds the canvas in place, so there is no glass or hardware needed.


If making the same frame for a print or poster, you can simply tape the print/poster to the back of the frame or staple it in if you want something a little sturdier.

Hope this helps you out with some of that art you’ve been meaning to frame!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!


How to use a mat cutter

Apparently a mat cutter is one of those things you don’t think you need ’til you have one, like an ad-free music subscription (so long Pandora ads!) or bath sheets instead of bath towels (they’re so big!…you’ll never go back). Yeah, it’s one of those things.

I held off on getting one for forever because it seemed… Intimidating? Time consuming? Instead we opted for wrapped canvases or frames that already had/didn’t need mats. But then I got one for my birthday and I feel like it’s gonna up my frame game big time. The best part is, it’s definitely not as intimidating or time consuming as I thought. And that’s saying something because I needed to cut a BIG mat.

So first off, there are a couple types you can get- one that has a “mouth” that you clamp your mat into to hold it steady while you cut, and one that you just use as a guide rail to cut along. I opted for the second type because it is smaller and actually allows you to cut bigger mats because your mat doesn’t have to fit into a mouth.

Here’s the one I have.

How to use a mat cutter - evanandkatelyn.com

It comes with an angled cutter for the inside of the mat, a rolling cutter for the outside of the mat (if you need to cut it down to size), and a long ruler/rail that the angled cutter fits into.

Most mat cutters come with some sample mat boards, and I definitely recommend doing a few test cuts on the samples before cutting your actual board. I got my board at Michaels but I hear sometimes your local art shops will have cheaper prices.

Before you do any cuts on your board, you’ll want to measure out where your opening will be. You’ll mark the opening on the back of the board and all your cutting will be done on the back as well. 

How to use a mat cutter - evanandkatelyn.com

Place the mat on a cutting mat and, place the long ruler/rail on top. One side has a ruler, the other has a rail that the cutter clicks into. Align the rail side with your cut line. Then, using your thumb push the blade down through the mat. While holding it down, push the cutter forward along the rail.

How to use a mat cutter - evanandkatelyn.com

It was really pretty easy. Reading the instructions + doing my test cut  took longer than actually cutting my mat. The main thing is make sure your movements are slow and controlled so that you don’t cut too far past your measured marks.

My mat was so big that I even had to do the long cuts in two runs: meaning I had to cut halfway down the length of my line, lift my cutter, realign everything, and cut the rest of my line. And even with that I consider it a quick and easy project (and you totally can’t tell that I cut the long parts in two runs!)

How to use a mat cutter - evanandkatelyn.com

In the end the actual measuring and cutting took me 5-10 minutes, and that was my first time. The first time of many I think! We have so much art around the house that I’ll have to resist matting ALL THE THINGS. For now, I’ll just admire my first one.

How to use a mat cutter - evanandkatelyn.com

Let me know if anyone has any questions!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!


Bedroom art + how to mockup a gallery wall

After having our flooring installed in the bedrooms, I’ve been feeling inspired to spruce up those rooms even more. It’s like when you get a new haircut and you feel inspired to buy a new top too. Or when you have a few bites of chips and salsa and you’re inspired to finish a whole basket.

Our master bedroom has always been a room that’s looked pretty good, but didn’t have enough stuff going on. And by stuff, I mean art. For all the art we have in our house, we only had two pieces in there – not nearly enough!

IMG_7103 copy Which is why we really only ever show this side of the room. It’s pretty finished looking. But the other side of our space has always looked like this.

bedroom art blank small Womp womp. Lotsa black between the dressers and TV and not much else (although I do like our vases from Tarjay and basket from West Elm!)

With all the extra art in our house, there was really no excuse to not put some on that wall. Plus, I’ve never placed art in a space with a sloped ceiling – new challenge!

The way I like to approach gallery walls is how any designer with a Photoshop addiction would: I ‘shop it up before actually doing anything. So I took the above photo of our wall and then took photos of art around the house that I thought could look nice together. Cut out art, paste onto wall, and boom- art gallery mockup (see below).

bedroom art mockup Of course, not everyone has access to Photoshop. But there are other ways to do this folks. One easy method is to use PowerPoint – insert the blank wall photo into a slide, then insert the art photos on top of it. Use the crop tool to crop the art photos in so that no background is showing behind the art. Arrange around wall and marvel at your work.

You could even print out your photos at home and literally cut out the art photos and rearrange them in printed form. You might have to play around with how big you print each art piece so that it is properly sized in relation to the other pieces, but it could work!

Once we had the digital mockup in place, we got out our laser level (Evan has this cool self-leveling one) and started placing things. It was great to be confident in our placement and arrangement of different pieces. Also, Mochi loves laser levels. WAY more than laser pointers.

File_003 Piece by piece we added more art, using the mockup as a guide.

Bedroom art + how to mock up a gallery wall even if you don't have photoshop - evanandkatelyn.com A quick tip – if you’re ever hammering a nail into the wall and it goes in too far, use something thin and flat, like this tiny spatula we had, to protect the wall when you’re pulling the nail out.

File_0030 This was a super quick gallery wall – and it adds a ton of life into the room!

Bedroom art + how to mock up a gallery wall even if you don't have photoshop - evanandkatelyn.com It may seem like a simple change but I think it makes a huge visual difference!

ba After realizing when we did this wall that we had never shared a full view of our room, we snapped some cool fish eye photos with the Go-Pro!

Bedroom art + how to mock up a gallery wall even if you don't have photoshop - evanandkatelyn.com

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0772. Well there you have it! A few ways to mockup a gallery wall before you make it, and some new art now adding color to our master bedroom.


Big Ass Art Using an Ikea Print – 2!

Hey y’all! I’m back with our second adventure in giant cheap re-purposed canvases and lots (lots!) of paint. If you missed the first giant Ikea print we painted over, you can check it out here.

IMG_7490 Evan hit the ground running on that painting and had it done in about an hour. Which in my mind is pretty amazing. Not to brag on my hubby, but he’s got mad confidence with a paint brush.

Me, not so much. I work more in the digital art side of things, meaning if I can’t ctrl-Z away a mistake, I get a little nervous/sweaty. So thinking about painting a giant 55” x 39” canvas had me doubting my skills. But determined to turn this old print into something we really loved, I grabbed some tape, some paint, and a big brush and I got to work on that canvas. Very. Slowly.

I started by taping off the edges to protect the frame, then I roughly painted a coat of white over the old print. I didn’t worry about getting the white perfect- it just needed to be a light base for the other colors to go over, like a primer.

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! evanandkatelyn.com Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! evanandkatelyn.com What followed is a clear evidence of me not knowing what the heck I was doing. I’m a planner y’all, and when I don’t plan, bad stuff happens. I really struggled at the beginning, but then I realized the ctrl-Z of acrylic paint is just add more paint. So that’s what I did. In 15-20 minute increments over the course of a few weeks, my painting evolved:

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! evanandkatelyn.com I just squeezed paint directly onto the canvas and mixed it with any other colors that were still wet. First I tried a combination of long and short brush strokes, then I settled on short and it started looking a lot more like an actual painting. Finally I looked at it and said hey! I think I’m done!

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! evanandkatelyn.com  Just to be sure we hung it up on the wall before taking the tape off the edges. After a couple days of still liking it, the tape came off and we called this baby officially complete! (sorry the gif is so dark- did it at night, was too excited to wait for good lighting!)


Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! evanandkatelyn.com And this concludes our big ass Ikea print double feature! After the success of these two, we are seriously considering buying more prints just to paint over them next time we want a really big canvas! It really does feel good to turn something you’re “meh” about into something you’re “wow!” about.

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! evanandkatelyn.com


Big ass art using an Ikea print

You may remember a couple large Ikea prints that lived in our apartment above our desks. At one time or another, each of these made their way onto our dining room built-ins. You can see them both in the photo below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For a while after we moved into the house this one hung out in our dining room:

IMG_3271 And by the time we swapped out our light fixture, we had swapped the big paintings too.

IMG_6100 We loved the size of those things but we were getting tired of the prints themselves. When you’re getting tired of something SO BIG, it’s very frustrating because it’s not like you can just pretend you don’t see it.

We originally thought about getting rid of them, but then we realized hey- if you can’t beat em, paint em! After all, at $49.99 and 55″x39″ it would be way more expensive to go out and buy a frame and blank canvas of that size.

I mocked up a few photoshop color schemes to see what we would look good before we committed with actual paint. There was already a lot going on on our shelves, and with such a large canvas, it could get crazy and overbearing fast, so we wanted something more abstract and sublte.

Evan first started by taping off the frame and painting a layer of white over the whole canvas. Well, except not in that order, because it wasn’t til after he started painting that we realized taping the frame off would be a good idea. Ooops!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com Painting something so big can be a little daunting. Unless you’re my husband, who did this whole thing in about an hour flat! Look at him go!


One reason he was able to do it in one sitting is because we mixed a slow-dry medium with the paint that kept it workable for longer. So he never had to worry about the paint drying out too fast.

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com We used acrylic paint, which adhered well to the sorta fakey-canvas (it wasn’t actually a true canvas material, but it was close enough). Something like watercolor for example may not have stuck as well. We are super happy with how it turned out!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com After looking at the photo above we realized a lot has changed on our built-ins since we actually took this picture, and especially since the last time they were featured on the blog. Crazy how much of a difference little changes here and there can make over the course of a few years! Here are the built ins (with the big art) now!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com The large piece is perfect for layering with other art, which is great because art is something we have a LOT of in this house. Also before you ask, yes, that is a tiny 3D printed octopus sitting on the frame.

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com And here’s a fun little side by side. The shelves look so empty in the beginning (the far left).

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - evanandkatelyn.com After seeing the finished product we started thinking that we might even go buy MORE of these cheap Ikea prints simply to have a huge frame and canvas to paint on at a low price. But before we buy more ourselves, we have a second big ass Ikea print to take care of… and I’m gonna attempt to paint that one, so wish me luck!


Makin’ Loooooove… COMPLETE! {DIY Marquee Letters}


We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]


We finally got to use these at our wedding!! We ADORE how they turned out! It was 100% worth the time and effort.

DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

If you need to get caught up on the DIY Marquee Letter saga, check out part 1 and part 2.  You can also see a budget breakdown and materials list at the end of this post.

Here’s how it started: before we even bought our house, we went to a wedding expo and spotted these marquee letters. We instantly fell in L.O.V.E. with them and had to figure out how to make our own!

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

So we made a template (psst- download it here), cut it out of plywood and stained it, and then we derped around for a few months doing all sorts of house things instead of completing this project.

Finally, we decided it was time give the people what they wanted finish ‘er up. And that meant doing the hardest part: adding the metal flashing to the sides. We bought four rolls of 6-inch aluminum flashing because we wanted our letters to have metal siding (there are some tutorials online using poster board for the sides but we wanted something a little more sturdy). We couldn’t find any tutorials for making wood and metal letters so we decided to wing it.

(Before we get into all the pictures, a quick side note: we worked on this project on and off over several months so don’t be surprised if our outfits, location, time of day, and Evan’s haircut-necessity-level change from picture to picture.)

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We started with the L because it was the easiest and because we are just OCD enough that the thought of doing the letters out of order bothered us. The first step when adding the flashing is to unroll your metal and sit the letter on it.

Choose where you want the start and the end of your metal to meet (for the L, we chose the bottom of it), then make your first bend in the metal. We used the help of a putty knife and a hammer to make our bends.

Draw a line on the metal where you want your bend to be, place the sharp end of a putty knife (or similar object) on that line, and hammer the handle of the putty knife so that the sharp end is pounded into the metal. This works best if you’re working on carpet or a rug instead of a hard table top or hard flooring. You need some give underneath the metal to allow the putty knife to push into it.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

You’ll notice in the photo above we have a few bends in the metal already. Once you make your first bend, you’ll need to measure along your letter to find out where on the metal roll to make the next bend. So for the L, we did it like this:

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We started the edge of the metal where it says “Start” above and measured how far that point was to the lower right hand corner of the L (where “A” meets “B”). On the metal, we measured that same length from the edge and made a 90 degree bend using the putty knife and hammer technique. We did that all around the L. The angle marks above our rainbow-esque metal flashing in the guide above indicate what direction the angle is bent at.

It’s pretty easy to do this for each letter as you go, but if you chose a complex looking font it could get tricky. Therefore, we highly recommend a sans-serif font!

For some letters, like the L, it was pretty easy for just one person to do the measurements and bends.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

But other letters were two-person jobs, like the E. I never thought about how many angles a capital E has until we had to bend sharp metal around every one of them! For the E, I needed to hold the flashing up while Evan measured and bent so that it didn’t fall onto itself. And sorry about the PJ’s. Although it took us months to finish this project, extra time could not be spared to get properly dressed.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Once you have all your angles made, you’ll see the shape of the letter start to form and you can wrap the metal around your letter! Ahhhh!! Exciting!! Just don’t forget to cut off the extra metal (see it to the left of the L in the image below) with some sturdy clippers. We liked to leave a couple inches of overlap when we cut it.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We did not take a picture of the O at this stage of completion because it required a slightly different method. Since the metal did not have any bends or corners to hang onto, it wouldn’t stay put. So I had to pretty much wrap myself around the letter while Evan hammered nails in to anchor it. This is actually the only picture we have of this stage of the O because it was all hands on deck for this one.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Which brings us to our next step: attaching the metal.

First we made guide lines on the metal so that we could center it against the edge of our plywood. Since our plywood was 1/2-inch thick and our metal flashing was 6-inches wide, we marked dots that were 2-3/4 inches from each side (so that there was a 1/2-inch space between them going down the center of the metal).

Then we connected our dots and used those as our guide. These marks were made on the side of the metal that would be attached to the wood.

In hindsight, it would have been easier to do this before bending the metal. Oh hindsight!

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On the other side of the metal (the side facing outside), we marked dots along the center of the metal (3 inches from the edge) so that we knew where to nail. We made a dot every inch or so, but you could do more or less if you wanted.

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Since we had our plywood and nail guides, we wrapped the metal around the letters, aligning the plywood with our 1/2 inch space on the inside of the metal. Evan hammered in a nail or two while I held it in place to keep it from shifting.

We used short 1/2-inch finishing nails to do the job. We started out originally using longer nails, but a few times we didn’t hammer them in straight enough and their ends poked through the wood (ooops!). When that happens it’s kind of a pain to carefully pull them out without causing more damage.

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But the 1/2-inch nails were harder to hammer because holding such a tiny nail was difficult. So we used our longer nails to hammer little pilot holes through the metal and just barely into the wood, and then hammered our shorter nails into the pilot holes. It was WAY easier. Also, we still (carefully) used the longer nails at the corners because we felt like that they might be a better anchor.

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So after Evan hammered in a couple nails to keep the metal from shifting, together we’d go down each side of the letter and create pilot holes, and then add our 1/2-inch nails. Lots and lots of nails.

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The V and the E needed a little extra help because there were areas in each that we couldn’t nail due to lack of space for the hammer. On the V, we couldn’t get the hammer passed a certain point in the “dip” of the V. So we decided to nail as far as we could and then use epoxy.

That didn’t work too well because it was hard to hold the metal against the wood long enough for it to set. We didn’t have a big clamp, so we tried to wedge enough random tools in there to hold the metal down in place. I’ll pause while you laugh.

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Yeah. That didn’t work. So we went to Home Depot, got some Gorilla Glue, and picked up a big clamp. And then taped the crap out of the whole thing because we really really didn’t want another glue fail.

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The Gorilla Glue worked! But it squished out the sides (womp womp) and we had to cut the excess off with a razor blade, which was annoying. When we did the other side of the V, we made sure to apply as little glue as possible so that we didn’t have the same problem again.

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Even though the Gorilla Glue worked, there were a lot of places on the E that we couldn’t use nails and we didn’t want to deal with all the gluing and clamping again.

So for the parts of the metal that went in between the “legs” of the E, we bent them so that the sides were curving toward the wood of the E (like the colored pieces in the image below) and then hammered a few nails in between each bent piece of metal to hold things in place (along with nails around the perimeter of the letter too of course). Since the curved metal naturally wanted to press against the wood, we didn’t need any glue there.

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After the metal was firmly attached to all our letters, it was time to screw in our lights! We used two packs of these outdoor lights. Depending on the size of your letters and the closeness of the holes you drilled, you may need more or less.

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We had to screw in the lights in a way that made sense with the flow of the letters. Meaning for the L, we started at the bottom (so that we didn’t have to have a cord running from the floor to the top of a letter) and we added lights going toward the top. But we skipped every other light so that when we reached the top of the L we could make our way back to the bottom, filling in the lights we had skipped on the way up.

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On the O, we went straight across from the L to the base of the O and looped around clockwise until we got to the part of the O that was closest to the top of the V, filling in every light up to that point. Then as we continued the O (past the point closest to the top of the V) we just filled in every other light again until we reached out O starting point, where we then backtracked and filled in the holes we missed. Similar to the method on the L.

Basically, any time you know you’re going to have to backtrack, start skipping every other hole so that when you make your way back you have holes to fill in.

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We wired the lights this way because we didn’t want to have long stretches (like from the outlet to the top of the L or the base of the O to the top of the V) where there were lights that weren’t being used. Because that meant wasted lights, and we really didn’t want to buy a third pack. Hope the graphic above helps make sense of it! If not, it will make more sense when you get to this point and start playing with it.

I am happy to say, after much measuring, hammering, cutting, hammering, gluing, and hammering… we are FINALLY done!

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So of course we had to take a million pictures…

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We love the look of the metal and wood. On this zoomed in picture of the O you can really see how snugly everything fits together.

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We L.O.V.E. them sooooooooo much! Can’t wait to have these at our wedding, and we are super excited that they’ll have a spot in our home for us to enjoy forever :)

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Finally, here’s the budget breakdown. This is all rounded, but it’s pretty accurate:

(2) 2ft x 4ft pieces of pre-sanded plywood – $30
(4) rolls of 6 inch metal (similar to this but longer and therefore pricier) – $24
(1) 8-oz can of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut – $5
(2) packs of clear globe lights – $38
Nails, hammers, clamps, saw, brushes, etc – already owned/needed to have anyway

TOTAL = $97

Not bad for four very sturdy 2-ft tall letters that we love!

PS- Check out part 1: making the template and part 2: cutting out and staining the letters for the full tutorial of this project! :D

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What’s Hanging Around

We’ve hung more art! You caught a sneak peek of it in Monday’s post about styling shelves. See the art on the left wall of our dining room?

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

Well my AMAZING fiance painted those! Yep, he’s an engineer and an artist. And all around badass. I got me a good one!

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

That’s not the only wall that got a healthy helping of art though. We also added some on the wall next to our opening into the kitchen. And you guessed it, Evan painted all of these too :)

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

To figure out the layout, we just laid the paintings on the floor and shuffled them around until we found an arrangement we liked. Then we measured the height and width of the whole gallery, hung the middle painting so that the gallery would be centered on the wall, and hung all the others based around it.

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

We also popped a few frames on our entry way table. We don’t have any masonry screws yet to actually hang anything on the brick, but we like the leaning look too. The small canvas is Evan’s grandmothers painting, and the other two are Evan’s.

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

Once we paint our walls in here down the road (light gray perhaps), I think I might want to paint all those black frames white. I think the white would pop nicely!

Lastly, we added another piece of Evan’s art above our headboard. Our master bedroom has been feeling a little neglected (especially after we stole its curtains and moved them to the guest room), but hanging this piece here made a huge difference.

What's Hanging Around - evanandkatelyn.com

Yay for having art on our walls!


Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2)

We are working on the finishing touches of our newly painted room before we reveal it (like putting on outlet covers, removing an outlet, stuff like that), but we should *hopefully* have everything ready for y’all by tomorrow!

In the meantime, I’ll finish up with part 2 of styling all our shelves. You’ll remember that last week I finally tackled the little corner of built ins in our office.

That was pretty quick and easy, but we also had bigger built in fish to fry. In our dining room.

Our dining room built ins were a little daunting. That’s a LOT of shelves to fill y’all.

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

So logically, the first thing we did was take out about half of them. Less shelves = less work right? Then I slapped up some art and a few vases and called it done (I mentioned that shelf styling is new to me right?).

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

But then our art gallery wall happened. And our living room stole pretty much everything from our dining room.

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

And left our dining room looking like this. Womp womp.

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

With most of our decor items in the media center and office built ins, I had to get creative. We used more of those books we borrowed from Evan’s parents (we are e-reader people so all of our books remained at our parent’s houses) and I pulled out pretty much every vase, bottle, and canvas we own.

I actually added in one of the shelves we took out on the right so that it wasn’t so symmetrical anymore, and I tried to balance things the best I could. But I think we were able to slap together something that looks pretty good!

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

In order to stop you from noticing we still only have two dining chairs (after stealing two of them for our office), I’m going to zoom in for some detail shots!

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

The canvas on the left Evan painted for me so we were really happy to find a spot for that! Also love my little Z Gallerie skull on display and my Jonathan Adler ampersand (thanks mom!).

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

On the right is another painting of Evan’s, some miscellaneous bottles I’ve had for forever, oh yeah and some legos up top on the stack of books (don’t judge).

We had some extra books so I decided to beef up the media center decor as well. Because seriously, how could we NOT display a little Harry Potter in our home :)

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

Also my BELOVED Tim Burton art book gets to live here with one of Evan’s Saudi books (he used to live there as a kid) and another of my mom’s amigurumi (MY MOM IS AWESOME).

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

And of course I had to put our little Tokidoki’s on display too! They’re sitting on top of the book Evan made to propose to me- which we always have displayed somewhere :)

Styling Shelves On The Cheap (Part 2) - evanandkatelyn.com

Thank you guys for being patient for the paint (paintient?) while we finish up the details to make it photo-worthy. Hope the styled shelf posts will tide you over- and show how you can rearrange and rearrange and eventually fill all your shelves without having to buy a bunch of new stuff!